The forest is stirring. Do you hear it? Against a canvas of muted brown trunks, the blazing cardinal beckons his girl with sharp staccato chirps. She likes his music and answers back, less sharp, more patient. The forest is stirring. Can you smell it? The leaf litter left behind from fall has done its winter work. Brilliant hues have faded. Remnant nutrients serving their last purpose, seep into the damp soil, feed new life. Under a blanket of morning dew, the earth exhales and fills your nose. Delicious enough to scoop up in your hands and splash on your face. Down in the hollow, past a stand of hemlocks that line the creek, a poplar fell last summer. Under the bright rays of an ordinary July day, a weakness in its trunk gave way under a brisk wind. It lay for one season and half of another, fading. Its lush foliage withering. Come spring, it will not stand side-by-side its poplar friends and hemlock neighbors. But the forest is stirring because spring has returned. Step off the trail. Run your hand along the vibrant blanket of moss that fills the crevices of the fallen poplar. A snag of its bark extends itself to an infant hemlock striving toward the sun. A family of squirrels picnic on the broken stump the poplar left behind. The forest is stirring…everything continues.